Harvest time in Andezeno

03/10/2010 | By Claudio_VL | Comments: 1

This weekend, hills and valleys around Turin seem to be blossoming with food and wine: wherever you turn your head there's a food festival, a wine-tasting event, a polenta party, and we are not even in bagna cauda/chestnuts season! Having too many choices usually leads to not taking a decision: today the main options were a wine event in Andezeno, in the hills near Chieri, or a food festival in my own town, Settimo Torinese. The sky was gloomy and rain was expected, so we drove away from Settimo, hoping to find better weather. Near Chieri I took a wrong turn, or so I thought, until I found myself driving past the Balbiano Winery: it looks like a navigation error plus a driving error can balance each other out...

In this part of Piedmont, Freisa is the main wine. Dark, tannic and full-bodied, Freisa is something I have been missing during the past nine years abroad, since it is seldom found outside Italy (well, at least in the restaurants and spirits shops I used to patronize).

The finished item: bottles of Bonarda Vivace at the Balbiano Cellar in Andezeno

At the Balbiano winery, we explored a museum of country life, then a cellar with a selection of wines (a heaven of Freisa, Bonarda, Malvasia), then tasted grape juice must (one of the few non-alcoholic drinks you can have in a winery!). The lady behind the wine-tasting bar was explaining how a certain type of Freisa wine was aged, and that, together with the selection of wines, was beginning to make my mouth water, when a call arrived: for those who felt like exploring the vineyard, a shuttle bus was ready. That Freisa would have to wait a bit longer...

Freshly-picked grapes at the Balbiano Vineyard in Andezeno, Piedmont (Italy)

At the vineyard, near the town of Marentino, we were part of a group of twenty-ish visitors who were allowed to roam the vineyard with shears and baskets to harvest grapes.

Back at the cellar, the Freisa I previously had to miss was there, waiting for me (and for many other visitors). The Freisa di Chieri Riserva Barbarossa, that was that wine's name, turned out to be great. So great, in fact, that I bought a bottle of it, despite being a skinflint with a budget of zero euros for the day.

It was that good.

Tags: foods and drinks, Italy, pictures

Comments (1)Comment this blog post

04/10/2010 15:06:54, Luca Balbiano
Grazie per lo splendido articolo.
Il piacere ? stato tutto nostro..

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